Doubling down on all the ingredients that made their first full length an enthralling listen, Master Sword opens another door into Hyrulean legend with The Final Door. Released just shy of two years after the debut and in the final days of 2019, it’s a less extensive album than its predecessor, but one that delves that much deeper into the band’s developing style and the mythos it brings to life. But it is also less inviting, demanding more attention from the listener to fully envelop in the immersive atmosphere brought to life by the great musicianship. The Final Door doesn’t carry those instant, catchy hits, but instead deeper works nonetheless well crafted and built on the solid foundation of riff based power metal.
Guitarists Matt Farkas and Corey Garst build the towering riff work throughout the album that proves incredibly efficient and driving the music. Garst, handling leads, blazes some sweet melodic leads and solos as well - the ones in Hero of Time are especially extra. Farkas also adds keyboards to enhance the atmosphere in darker tracks A Dark History and epic Forgotten in Stone. Lily Hoy’s ridiculously competent vocals add further depth to the flow of the music, always enchanting the air with her melodic voice and powerful approach. She’s belting out anthemic choruses throughout the album, soaring on the riff work of Garst and Farkas, while taking a dark and menacing turn in the brooding A Dark History. Rich bass tones fill out the sound, Shawn Staub thundering on beneath the striking guitars. They’ve doubled down on the atmosphere as well. The entire album has a dark tone and a heavy - sometimes almost oppressive - feel to the soundscape.
Obviously given the lyrical theme Master Sword might appeal most to fans of the Legend of Zelda franchise. The lyrics aren’t that demanding however and the music will easily appeal to any fans of heroic power metal or anyone interested in powerful riffs, magic leads and mighty, female vocals - or even fans of classic heavy metal. It’s not too cheesy, not too over the top, but tossing every ingredient in just right and with heaps of passion and talent to carry the blade of evil's bane. Thanks to a fairly short runtime and mere eight songs - landing at 40 minutes including bonus track The Forsaken Tribe - it never proceeds into unwelcome filler territory either. Master Sword have crafted a fun listen that’s just charming as it is well performed, and crafted with love for the art; The Final Door a great album to close the final door on 2019. And if I use a cheat code I can put it on my end of 2020 lists as well.
Standout tracks: Hero of Time, A Bloody History, The Forsaken Tribe